Milwaukee County Jail

Authorities say a 51-year-old inmate died Tuesday night at the Milwaukee County jail. 

Sheriff David Clarke's spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin says the inmate was brought into the jail on Tuesday morning. By 10:00 p.m., the inmate complained of not feeling well.  

McLaughlin says staff immediately responded, and called for a medical unit from the Milwaukee Fire Department.  The inmate lost consciousness at the jail clinic and both jail and fire department staff were unable to revive him.  An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Michelle Maternowski

Thousands of people taking part in an annual May Day rally in Milwaukee focused their attention Monday on Sheriff David Clarke. Several inmates have died while in his care at the Milwaukee County Jail. An inquest jury recommended late Monday that the district attorney file criminal charges against seven jail staffers. The sheriff was not targeted, but the deaths are not the only reason marchers are upset with Clarke.

Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Milwaukee jury is recommending that the district attorney file criminal charges against seven county jail staffers for the death of 38-year-old Terrill Thomas. He died of dehydration, after employees shut off his water for seven days. The jurors recommend charging the staff with abuse of a resident of a penal facility. Now the DA will decide whether to follow the jury's recommendation.

Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

While national reports indicate the Dept. of Homeland Security may be thinking of hiring Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the inquest continues this week into the death of Terrill Thomas, who died of dehydration in the county jail. He was one of four people who died there, in about a year's time. UWM Criminal Justice Prof. Stan Stojkovic says it is unlikely Clarke will face criminal charges, but other issues of wrong-doing could settle around him because the state constitution puts responsibility for the jail directly on the shoulders of the sheriff.

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Update:

Among the people who testified Thursday at the inquest was Lt. Kashka Meadors, who says she ordered staff to shut off the water in Terrill Thomas' cell until he calmed down. Meadors says she was too busy to check back on the case but thought water would have been restored.

Terrill Thomas, 38, an inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail, was found dead in his cell on April 24, 2016.

Prosecutors say Thomas had been left alone for seven days without water, and the medical examiner's office says he died of "profound dehydration."

The District Attorney's Office is holding an inquest to determine whether a member of the jail staff should be charged in Thomas' death.

A group of Democratic legislators wants to expand the 2014 Wisconsin law that requires outside investigations of citizen deaths in which police are involved, so that it also applies to deaths that occur in county jails. Those could include several in the Milwaukee County Jail where four people have died during the past year. One was an infant born in a cell to an incarcerated woman, another was a male inmate who died of dehydration. 

The Milwaukee County Board wants an outside investigation conducted, every time an inmate dies in a county facility.

The plan appears directed at Sheriff David Clarke, because of four people who’ve died in the County Jail since April. The board approved the plan by a 15 to 1 vote, and not everyone is satisfied.

For weeks now, some elected officials and members of the public have been calling on Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to resign. One of them is Supervisor Supreme Moore Omukunde.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

If Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke does not resign, three Democrats from Milwaukee want Governor Walker to remove Clarke from office.

State Sen. Chris Larson and Reps. Christine Sinicki and Jonathan Brostoff call Clarke "a dangerous menace," citing four deaths that have occurred in the county jail in recent months, including of a newborn.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Four people have died in the Milwaukee County jail this year, including one infant who was born in a cell. Several dozen mothers, their young children and others advocating for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation took their message to Sheriff David Clarke’s office on Friday morning. They demanded Clarke’s immediate resignation.

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Update, Dec. 1:

Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde is calling for Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. to resign because of recent deaths at the county jail. The sheriff is responsible for jail operations. According to a statement Omokunde released Thursday, "Media reports and accounts of witnesses indicate that at least three of the deaths appear to have occurred as a result of actions or inaction by Sheriff Clarke's corrections officers. Yet not a single officer has been disciplined, and Sheriff Clarke remains silent. This is totally unacceptable."

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office

The community learned more, last week, about the death of a mentally ill inmate in the Milwaukee County Jail.

Terrill Thomas had been in lockup for nine days when he died in his cell on April 24th.

According to the medical examiner’s report, Terrill Thomas died of “profound” dehydration while in solitary confinement.

Fellow inmates say he hadn’t had water for six days and they told jail staff he was sick and needed help.

ME Rules Death at Milwaukee County Jail a Homicide

Sep 15, 2016

The death of 38-year-old Milwaukee man who was found unresponsive in his cell at the Milwaukee County Jail in April has been ruled a homicide. The County Medical Examiner's Office says Terrill Thomas died of profound dehydration. The report also noted Thomas was suffering from bipolar disorder.  The Medical Examiner found no evidence of injury.